Hurtful words can affect kids' development

Children are sensitive to the reactions of others, especially adults ("Motivation needed for children to excel" by Mr Paul Chan Poh Hoi; last Sunday).

They may imitate adults in their speech, actions and attitudes without realising it, and carry these into adulthood.

They also have good memories, so the hurtful comments they receive may fester and affect their development without their even knowing it.

An example is a child who receives remarks from a teacher comparing his ability with that of others.

This can lead to the child feeling inferior, and this inferiority complex can fester even into adulthood, turning the individual into a very defensive person.

This individual may constantly compare himself with others and may never be contented, thus lacking the ability to enjoy life.

Therefore, it is crucial for teachers and other adults to never give children unfavourable comments.

They should also not show favouritism, and not compare children openly in front of them.

Children's fragile egos need to be protected so that they can have the motivation to excel into adulthood.

Tan Lian Tee (Ms)

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on July 05, 2015, with the headline 'Hurtful words can affect kids' development'. Print Edition | Subscribe